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Siemens-Backed Claroty Expands OT Security Platform To Monitor IoT

'This particular area is going to be a rocket ship because of where our industrial controls are today,' one Claroty partners says of the industrial cybersecurity vendor and its expanding capabilities.

Industrial cybersecurity startup Claroty is expanding its operational technology platform to monitor Internet of Things devices, giving companies greater visibility into the growing number of devices sitting on their networks that could be exploited or attacked.

The New York-based vendor announced the expansion of its deep packet inspection technology to IoT devices as part of a larger update for its OT security platform, which provides threat detection and monitoring for industrial control systems.

[Related: VMware Vet's Firm Leads $65M Round In IoT Security Startup Armis]

The major release comes after the channel-friendly vendor raised a $60 million funding round last year from Rockwell Automation and venture capital firms founded by Siemens and Schneider Electric, all three of which are partners and customers of Claroty. The company also appointed retired U.S. Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the former head of the National Security Agency, to its advisory board in February.

Dave Weinstein, chief security officer at Claroty, told CRN that adding new monitoring capabilities for IoT was the "next logical step for the industry."

"If you look at the technological ecosystem and what's happening in OT environments, it was pretty clear to us that this wave of digital transformation to drive efficiency and higher levels of productivity was going to necessitate more and more IoT devices," said Weinstein, who previously served as the chief technology officer of the state of New Jersey and as a network operations planner at the U.S. Cyber Command.

The problem with adding more IoT devices in industrial environments is that security is often an afterthought, according to Weinstein.

"We're doing it to be more differentiated within our existing markets, because we see industrial organizations adopting more IoT devices so they want a more comprehensive solution," he said.

With the new capability, Claroty's device coverage now includes IoT devices like sensors, cameras, badge readers, mobile handsets, thermostats, lighting controls and other building automation systems, Weinstein said.

Other new platform includes a machine learning algorithm that helps prioritizes high-fidelity alerts, root cause analytics that help accelerate incident responses and "Virtual Zones+" that micro-segment devices based on behavior, communications and other characteristics.

Weinstein said the new Virtual Zones+ feature is particularly unique because of how it allows micro-segmentation of IoT devices from OT devices and the creation of policies and rules for when such devices are allowed to talk to each other.

"If you're monitoring your IoT network in isolation and not doing in integration with OT and IT networks, you're losing because the OT network and iot networks are converging, and they are talking to each other. The attackers are exploiting that connectivity," he said.

One Claroty partner said the industrial security vendor is heading in the right direction because it's addressing a major problem in the industrial space where operators lack visibility into their assets and are therefore liable to security risks.

"To have a true baseline of the industrial assets you have out there, it's very eye opening for a lot of organizations once they get their hands on it," said Dino Busalachi, principal at Velta Technology, a St. Louis-based industrial cybersecurity consulting firm.

Busalachi said beyond the new IoT capabilities, Claroty's update to the platform is making it easier for partners to deploy, turning it into more of a plug-and-play solution.

"As a partner, it makes our job a lot easier, because we can streamline our process and not [rely on] Linux gurus," he said.

With security solutions for industrial control systems still in its early stages, Busalachi said the opportunities in the space will only grow.

"This particular area is going to be a rocket ship because of where our industrial controls are today," he said.

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